Crawford v. United States, No. 22-1585 (Fed. Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Crawford served in the U.S. Army and Florida National Guard for two decades. He was discharged in 2011 due to his service-connected PTSD. Crawford’s PTSD began after his second tour of duty in Iraq. The Florida State Surgeons Medical Discharge Review Board (SSMDRB) found Crawford did not meet medical retention standards and that his PTSD was incurred in the line of duty. It recommended a fitness determination by a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), a prerequisite for medical retirement, 10 U.S.C. 1201. Crawford was not referred to a PEB but was discharged as if his PTSD was not service-related, without medical retirement.
Crawford sought correction of his records and retroactive benefits before the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (ABCMR). Notwithstanding the SSMDRB’s findings and the fact that Crawford was discharged for failure to meet medical retention standards, a doctor opined Crawford met retention standards at the time of his discharge. Crawford filed suit. On the government's motion, the court remanded for a fitness determination and development of the record. On remand, the ABCMR found Crawford was entitled to medical retirement based solely on the evidence available at the time of his separation and granted him complete relief, including the correction of his records and retroactive medical retirement benefits.
The Federal Circuit reversed the denial of Crawford’s subsequent motion for attorneys’ fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act. Crawford was a prevailing party.